1982 international chart-topper by Trio with repetitive title / SAT 10-1-16 / Roman soldier who became Christian martyr / Hoarder's squalor / Headliners at Palais Garnier / Brand once advertised with line they never get on your nerves / Where mud engineer works

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Constructor: David Woolf

Relative difficulty: Medium



THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Edward Gorey's "The Gashlycrumb TINIES" (18A) —
The Gashlycrumb Tinies: or, After the Outing is an abecedarian book written by Edward Gorey that was first published in 1963. Gorey tells the tale of 26 children (each representing a letter of the alphabet) and their untimely deaths in rhyming dactylic couplets, accompanied by the author's distinctive black and white illustrations. It is one of Edward Gorey's best-known books, and is the most notorious amongst his roughly half-dozen mock alphabets. It has been described as a "sarcastic rebellion against a view of childhood that is sunny, idyllic, and instructive". The morbid humor of the book comes in part from the mundane ways in which children die, such as falling down the stairs or choking on a peach. Far from illustrating the dramatic and fantastical childhood nightmares, these scenarios instead poke fun at the banal paranoias that come as a part of parenting. (wikipedia)
• • •
An exercise in Adequacy. Boring, acceptable, occasionally marginal fill, and only 2-3 interesting answers in the whole grid (namely, ASSANGE and STRESS EATS, and possibly BMX BIKE). That double [___ deck] business was garbage, esp. ORLOP (?). Things get very 1-point tile-ish through IRON ORE / I REST / EELERS (ugh) / AEON. I think maybe HAHAHA hovering over "DA DA DA" is supposed to be funny. Maybe if the "International chart topper" (wth is that?) were more Something, I would like it better (I can hear the tune in my head ... actually, just the DA DA DA part ...). I do not accept TINIES as a thing except insofar as it is that thing that I occasionally call my dogs (true story). ONE TO TEN should've been clued as [Scale type] if it was to be clued as anything (not fond of it as an answer at all). But most of the rest is, as I say, serviceable. Just blah.

[A "chart-topper" ... in Austria, New Zealand, South African, and Switzerland only]

Also, right now, I am quite worried that I am supposed accept that when two people are "spooning" one of them is called the BIG SPOON and I cannot and will not accept this ever. I swear to you that I just assumed there was some form of the word "cuddle" (v.) that I just didn't know, involving a BIG SPOON. Maybe like "muddle" (v.) ... maybe you do it for cocktails ... "Step 2: cuddle the mint with a BIG SPOON." I don't know. But after looking up "cuddle" and "cuddler" several times and coming up with nothing involving muddling stirring or mixing of any sort, I was forced to come back to the strong possibility that the puzzle wants me to accept that there are BIG SPOONs and (!?) little spoons involved in the act of spooning. Never mind that actual spoons that nest together are the Same Damned Size. Never mind that the physically bigger person might be spooned. Ugh. Please tell me there is some non-spooning way to understand this stupid answer.


Here is a short podcast that constructor / solving phenom Erik Agard recorded yesterday re: yesterday's GHETTOBLASTER (which, apparently, Shortz tried to pre-emptively defend yesterday on the NYT's house blog—you can find the link on Erik's Soundcloud post). Succinct and smart and strident.


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

107 comments:

jae 12:14 AM  

Medium for me too. My first encounter with ORATORIO was in a late week NYT puzzle, it was my first entry in the NW. I also know of Gorey and his TINIES from crosswords. Definitely a horizon expanding activity.

Never heard the phrase IN GAME as clued.

Wanted tap inS before EASELS but it just wouldn't work.

I'd add BIG SPOON, ARIANNA, GAG REEL, and LOGROLLS to Rex's list and give it a mild liked it.

Random Irish Guy 12:24 AM  

The salient fact about cuddling, that makes it even remotely tolerable to most men, is that size doesn't matter. Now I've got to worry about whether I'm the BIG SPOON or not? Seriously - I can't even cuddle without anxiety?

Marty Van B 12:52 AM  

Spooning is most definitely a term for cuddling. It's two people lying their sides next to each other with the one who wraps their arm around the other referred to as the BIG SPOON. Which makes the little spoon the one with their back to the other. That's a fun answer to start of the puzzle.

TEAR GAS felt awkward to have in the grid with the recent protests in Charlotte. Add that to yesterday's GHETTO BLASTER and it would seem that the NYT puzzle is yet again a bit insensitive.

SORCERESS also had a clever clue. I kept trying to figure out how Aaron or Tori Spelling fit in there.

If any of you have plans to travel to Paris, a great view of the Opera Garnier (and the city) that most visitors never see is the rooftop of the Galleries Lafayette.

S

puzzle hoarder 1:29 AM  

PIANO at 22A should have been my first write in. However I wanted TAROT for 6D and ONESTAR at 8D. ALIAS was where I started. It was as obvious as PIANO and I didn't see any conflicts for it. HOTDOGGER as a first guess for 9D felt a little more inspired. With PIANO confirmed I was off and plodding. I slowly filled in clockwise from the NE corner. Zero write overs and a clean grid.
That band in the DADADA video looked like they've had lobotomies. At least that would explain the music.

Larry Gilstrap 1:37 AM  

Wow! OFL is on a tear. Hope nobody who questions him has ever made a sex tape. I will check Twitter about 3:15 am. Now, about the puzzle. I used to solve the syndicated puzzle in a relaxing fashion over afternoon ice tea. Kinda longing for those days. The new me solves on the left coast the night before the puzzle appears in print. Sure, I've had a few adult beverages, but normally I enjoy rowing up stream. This Saturday puzzle was tough, I'm staring at you SW corner. BIG SPOON was my nickname in college, so I loved that. Ironically, my room mate was known as LOG ROLLS, and weirdly his brand of smokes was CAMEL. Deja vu, again. ETOILES often are poised on their TOES. The baseball playoffs are on tap, many great teams featuring tremendous young and veteran ballplayers are involved; BATTER UP! Rumor: ST. GEORGE took a dragon a CAMEL. Videos are out there.

Dr. Bunger 1:47 AM  

I'm reminded of a passage from a favorite volume: "Queequeg" said I, "do you think we can make a supper for us both on one CLAM?"

rutterj2 2:59 AM  

Big spoon/ little spoon is a thing. If i had a nickel for every time I've heard it I could quit my job.

Martín Abresch 3:58 AM  

BIG SPOON was the best answer in the grid. Big and little spoons are a thing, no question. By way of citation, here is some dialogue from Brooklyn Nine-Nine:

JAKE: But in a seriousness, your honor, I do think that she should recuse herself from the trial.
SOPHIA: Why? You think I might tell everybody in the courtroom that you like to be the little spoon?
JAKE: Everyone likes to be the little spoon. It makes you feel safe! Carl, back me up on this.
JUDGE CARL: Yes, little spoon all the way.

Oh, and when Chris NOTH cuddled Sarah Jessica Parker, would that have made him Mr. Big Spoon?

Elsewhere...

HAHAHA over "DA DA DA" reaches so-bad-it's-good level for me. That choice meant three words with the pattern H--D and three with the pattern A--A. David Woolf did a beautiful job making those sing. HOT DOGGERS and ASSANGE were star answers, and HIND, HEEDING, ALIAS, and AVIATOR are all solid. Yeah, you can object to TINIES, but what kind of monster begrudges a reference to Edward Gorey? "M is for Maud who was swept out to sea. N is for Neville who died of ennui."

LOGROLLS is new to me. Let's see ... it means reciprocal voting ("I'll vote for yours if you vote for mine") and comes from the notion of frontier neighbors joining together to roll logs (for clearing land or building a cabin).

I also liked GAG REEL, STRESS EATS, and BMX BIKE. I liked the clues for GONG (One getting hammered) and NULL ( { }, in mathematics). This has been a good week for math symbols.

Lovely grid design. Only two three-letter words (TIN and XIA), and big chunks of white space. Not an easy grid to fill. Not at all.

I see what Rex is saying about 1-point tile fill in the NW and adequate fill in much of the grid (the SE was particularly dull, I thought). but I rather enjoyed this puzzle. There were enough things in it that made me smile—or perhaps I was just put in a good mood straight away with BIG SPOON.

BIG SPOON FTW! :) :) :)

Crystal Nacht 5:05 AM  

@Professor Rex, please limit your rants and rant-related links to the respective day of publication. Warmed-over rants are as appetizing as day-old porridge.

Trombone Tom 7:30 AM  

I felt this was more of a workout than OFL did.

Totally clueless as to BIGSPOON. And I've not heard this usage of INGAME.

However, I'm always ready for the BARCAR.

evil doug 7:52 AM  

Tiresome, Michael. Move on. You're not going to persuade anyone, and they're not going to persuade you.

da kine 7:54 AM  

I'm glad we have a lot of white people pre-emptively finding fault with the term "ghetto blaster" on behalf of black people. Virtue signaled, fellow white people! You are way better than anyone else. I haven't heard the term for about 15 years but it has never been offensive ever to anyone unless they wanted to be offended.

I'm a fan of Agard's puzzles but that mini podcast was ridiculous. The fact that he used the word "positionality" within the first minute should have stopped me from listening to the remaining 6 minutes.

Also, BIG SPOON is definitely a thing. Just because it isn't in your wheelhouse doesn't make it not a thing.

seanm 7:54 AM  

yet again rex goes with the theory of "if i haven't heard of it, then it must not be a thing." i agree with the rest of the world here that it is indeed a thing, and a decidedly non offensive thing as well.

for some reason this actually played a little easier for me than yesterday, which gave me trouble with all the proper nouns in the lower half.

Trey 8:21 AM  

I liked it. Own DA-DA-DA on vinyl. Gashlycrumb TINIES was given to us by my brother at birth of my first daughter. It is rare that I have laughed so hard. Only erasure was stairs for PIANO. Liked that CAVE was an answer but not related to the spelunking clue.

George Barany 8:42 AM  

After an exhausting week capped off by an exciting Lynx-Mercury WNBA playoff game at the Xcel center in Saint Paul (note: two team names, neither of which ends in s), I dove into @David Woolf's puzzle last night, but crashed before gaining any sort of foothold.

This morning, when fresh, I struggled some more with the puzzle, and was able to complete all but the southwest corner--there, BMXBIKES and IN_GAME (as clued) were both unknown (and uninferrable) to me.

@Rex's review was very interesting, and thanks too for sharing @Erik Agard's commentary on yesterday's marquee word. Back to today, I learned something new about my first name ... since neither the classic Roman military nor Christian saints are topics I spend a lot of time thinking about.

It was interesting to see both NO_STARS and (French) ETOILES in the same puzzle, and add to the "deck" already cited (adjacent 5- and 6-down) the BATTER_UP "on deck" cry at 36-Across and ex-Minnesota Gopher, ex-Denver Bronco, current New York Jet Eric Decker.

Last, what's not to love about any puzzle that refers to one of my favorite baseball teams? Fingers crossed that they get a wildcard slot and return to the MLB playoffs this year.

Hartley70 9:01 AM  

This was challenging for me, doable but challenging. The NW was my entry, although BIGSPOON and LOGROLLS are new to me and IRONORE was random. I expected something woolen. ORLOP was the biggest surprise. I have no idea how I know that word and typed in the letters as a joke. I couldn't believe it worked. My unconscious mind is definitely smarter than the rest of me, but it stopped working after ORLOP.

The NE was the toughest. The Gorey book and the Trio hit had to be gotten from crosses. I wanted Chivas for OLIVES and I refuse to think about ASSANGE. He's not a HAHAHA matter to me.

Add in the STGEORGE history, an NFLer, unknown names for math symbols (I'd rather wear my carats), and a body part that I thought was specific to the gastrointestinal tract, and I had a struggle. Oh and in my neighborhood BMX bikes are so 1980's. I was expecting an ATV.

This puzzle should make the PPP haters very happy. You know who you are, Ms N. I sure could have used a Popstar here or there!

kitshef 9:08 AM  

Way, seriously, dementedly challenging for me. I really would love to love it, as that's what I ask for on a Saturday.

Alas, I can only like, but not love it. Many of the clues and answers were just too tormented. Clue for ESOS. ORLOP. HAHAHA. LOGROLLS. NOTH?!?! Clue for ETOILES.

Hand up for BIG SPOON being a WoE (but fairly crossed). Hand up for wanting tApinS before EASELS. At one point tried nAsCAR before BARCAR, side-eying it the whole time.

Loren Muse Smith 9:18 AM  

@George - I have to add to your comment about STARS and ETOILES, in the grid… if you squint your eyes (ya gotta work with me here) we have NO STARS and we almost have NUL ETOILES. Sneaky, sneaky, David. I know this was deliberate. Just kidding.

Z 9:25 AM  

TEAR GAS is so dark, I love it. I might normally point out that the use of TEAR GAS by police is indicative of a failing civil government, but I fear too many can't handle a nuanced argument, so I won't.

BIG SPOON? WTF? It is in the Urban Dictionary so it's a thing. Favorite U.B. definition has to be, "a cabal of spoon manufacturers, including Rubbermaid and Cuisinart, who secretly dominate the government and media." Now I'm just waiting for Newsweek to break the huge Trump/BIG SPOON scandal.

I liked this far more than Rex. LOG ROLL and HOT DOGGERS. As for DA DA DA, further evidence of the detrimental effect of cocaine on the listening public world wide in the '80's.

NCA President 9:26 AM  

LOL...I saw GHETTOBLASTER yesterday and I chose to not say anything. I should get extra points for my restraint. I will just say (to take away some of those points) that if WS has to preemptively apologize, that should be a hint to him to maybe rethink the whole thing. Was yesterday's puzzle a work of such amazing genius that it absolutely, positively needed to be published like that? Or was it just another grid with a bunch of letters in it that could have been reworked or just replaced with another one of, I'm certain, hundreds of possibilities in the queue. Sure, WS doesn't need to "labor to avoid offense," but if he felt the need to justify it *preemptively,* then, um...maybe he was laboring to avoid laboring...which is seriously too much laboring.

As for this puzzle. The SW was my labor...as in giving birth labor. Painful, protracted, and no amount of short breaths would help. EASELS (as clued), INGAME, KNAVES, XIA, BARCAR, CAMEL (as clued), and CELIAC. All terrible.

This puzzle goes in the pile I've created for puzzles that use ridiculously precious cluing. It's like that drunk person at a party that tries too hard to be funny, when every time you say something, s/he will jump in with some kind of non-sequiter blue joke related to one or more of your words.

This puzzle is like that. It's drunk and needs to go home.

QuasiMojo 9:30 AM  

Sorry, Rex, but I could not finish listening to that smug and vulgar podcast. Using four-letter words does not make one sound more intelligent or coherent or persuasive. It sounded like someone who was sitting around a lava lamp in college getting stoned. As for today's puzzle too many naticks. If you don't know Gorey's book for example, you may not figure out "Hot Dogger" (which I have never heard used as a synonym for showboat.) Are we really supposed to know or care who Chris Noth is? BMX Bike is technically redundant. Who really enjoys being reminded of Arianna Huffington? Surprised no one yet is up in arms over the plug for Camel cigarettes. No outrage yet over the Joe Camel ads? What about "sorceress"? Isn't that offensive to your ears? Like actress or waitress or stewardess? C'mon guys, let's hear the PC crowd roar against that. It's all a "rat's nest," to be sure. Now let me count from "one to ten" before I start throwing "tear gas" at anyone who disagrees with me.

Anonymous 9:36 AM  

Started out with lovebird for cuddlers. Felt like a genius. Laughed bitterly when I surrendered.

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

@Crystal Nacht? Kristallnacht? Now Nazis have invaded the space? Or is this a coincidence?

Wm. C. 10:11 AM  


@jae12:14 -- if a three-footer is a tap-in for you, you're a far better putter than I am! ;-)

@Quasi9:30 -- re "smug and vulgar podcast ... four-letter words". I'm with you. I'm hardly a prude, but anyone who uses a four-letter word (for emphasis, I guess) in an online post for consumption by the general public is a flat-out jerk, IMO.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:15 AM  

I too started with LOVEBIRDS at the top. Except for ORATORIO and TINIES, everything else I put in on the first pass was also wrong. Tough start. As I went on I disliked quite a few things. GONG for 'one getting hammered'? FIRESALE for 'everything must go in it'? OK. Tomorrow is another day and I have many more fun things to do today.

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

I repeated misread the Trio clue as Toto and could not figure out why no Toto titles worked. Then I finally realized the problem but had no memory of this group, despite being alive and well in 1982. Had to Google it to finish.
--Twangster

GILL I. 10:29 AM  

@Anony 9:36....I too had LOVEBIRD and I thought I was brilliant because I almost never get a 1A on a Saturday. Dang. Then I went right over to Howard Hughes at 12D and I was so sure he was a RECLUSE. Dang again. Tossed it in the garbage last night and re-printed a new one this morning. Good ole ST GEORGE got me started and gave me AVIATOR. POOP ORLOP gave me a SPOON so little by painful little I got her done.
The clue for SORCERESS gave me fits. I like tough cluing but so much of this seemed like trying too hard to be clever.
HOT DOGGER BIG SPOON new to me so at least I learned something that I will forget the minute I finish this sentence.
Two Googles. One for never heard of NOTH and the other for ERIC. I so hate not knowing these proper names. I'll have to watch more TV I guess.

Mohair Sam 10:31 AM  

Well @Rex, I never heard of BIGSPOON either, but it didn't make me mad at the puzzle. In fact we rather enjoyed this medium Saturday.

ORLOP a new word for me (not for Her Ladyship, fortunately). Nice misdirect on GROG - tough crossing the unknown NOTH. Interesting factoid on STGEORGE. How did we miss this DADADA song? Is BMXBIKE redundant.

@Rex - You and I have very different definitions of "Succinct and smart and strident." Well, maybe not strident.

Excellent Saturday, David Woolf - thanks.


Nancy 10:44 AM  

Finished with one natick: BMw BIKE crossing wIA, that famous first Chinese dynasty. Now, mind you, wIA doesn't sound, well, very Chinese to me, if truth be told. But I've heard of BMw and I've never heard of BMX. Is it a brand? Or does the X stand for extreme, as in xtreme sports? Anyway, grrrr.

I'm with you, Rex, and surely others whom I haven't read yet. What the hell is BIG SPOON and why does it cuddle? And with whom? Does it cuddle with another BIG SPOON? Or does it cuddle with a BIG FORK? NO STARS for this clue.

And what in the world does it mean to STRESS EAT? Is it loading up on carbs before the NYC Marathon? (That doesn't sound all that stressful, to tell the truth.) Or does it mean to be force fed in some awful prison? (But you're not "eating"; you're being force fed.) Or does it mean winning a Nathan's hot dog-eating contest -- chowing down, say, on 50 hot dogs in ten minutes? (Now that does sound stressful. But it's your own fault for entering such a loathsome contest.) So HAHAHA and DADADA -- I don't get this answer at all.

Nonetheless, I really enjoyed this puzzle. The cluing was imaginative and it made me do a lot of thinking. It was just the challenge I look for on Saturday, its flaws notwithstanding.

Nancy Klein 11:00 AM  

As the daughter of a victim of Kristallnacht, I request that you remove "Crystal Nacht's" post. Surely that is as offensive as "ghetto blaster".

Carola 11:02 AM  

I found it almost-couldn't-finish tough, and I really enjoyed working it all out. I went wrong on Handel's concertOS (good grief) and the sneaky sNAkES; wrote in lAughs before HA HA HA and HEarING instead of HEEDING, which came close to sinking me; almost wanted dunes to be "seDGED." I seem to have read enough sea-faring novels to know about the ORLOP deck, so that was a wee delight, along with GROG, which took me an AEON to see. Last in was HOTDOGGER...I thought the showboat could be a something-hOGGER; an alphabet run for the DOGGER and TINIES saved me.

Thank you, @David Woolf. Really liked it.

DJG 11:27 AM  

I'm wondering what fellow math nerds think of NULL as an answer for "{ }, in mathematics". I think it's wrong. I've certainly heard this entity referred to as the "null set" (because that's what it is), but never before just NULL.

Anybody of a different opinion?

Ellen S 11:30 AM  

@Rex, thanks for the link to Erik Agard's response to Shortz. That Will pre-emptively issued that defense of GHETTOBLASTER suggests to me that he knew he was in trouble. I'm saddened by the number of people on this blog who don't want to hear any more about it. I guess it's because our nation has gotten beyond racism, everyone is equal and black folks should get a sense of humor already. The news media aren't helping, reporting every time a cop kills a black man (it seems like every day). Just stirs up trouble.

Teedmn 11:32 AM  

This really wasn't a very hard puzzle except for my failure to conceptualize today. TOES, PIANOS, I REST and EELERS went right in so that gave me a bunch of the NW. But I've never heard the term LOG ROLLS for "quid pro quo". POOP deck plopped right in but with the R of ORATORIO and P of PIANOS, I put in tRoOP deck for 6D. I finally crossed that out and later the SP_ON hit me over the head, no cuddling up to that answer today.

I loved the aha I got on GROG.

But when I think of what my brain was seeing at BAR CAR, I don't know whether to say HAHAHA or to CLAM up and pretend it never happened. When I finally filled in 52A, I had in my head a picture of a bar that had little tracks on it so your drinks could be delivered in little cars. I even Googled it post-solve because I couldn't imagine where in heck this could be a thing (maybe on a cruise ship?) When the inevitable BAR CAR train car showed up on my screen, I wondered if being hit by TEAR GAS would have cleared up that brain misfire. It was a DRAMATIC epiphany.

I finished with no DNF. I got CRETE off the T (Iraklion was a WOE). EASELS eased right in off the EA. On the other hand, CLAp was a symbol of happiness right up until pARINA didn't work as an anchor place (some sort of news room term? briefly went through my head.)

So 38 minutes, not an AEON of a solve. Nice one, David Woolf.

Dieter Touchmymomkey 11:37 AM  

Do doo doo
Da da da

4th rate Kraftwerk imitation

Alicia Stetson 11:44 AM  

Rex is easier to bait than Trump. And that's saying something. Once again, he falls for the "I haven't heard of it so it must not be a thing" trap, AND he finds a way to be offended by something as innocuous as BIGSPOON.
BIG and little spoon is extremely well known to everyone I know.

From a mock dating profile found randomly on the internet:

"You’re really good at:


you grew lettuce

1. “Picking breakfast places.”

2. “Doing shots.”

3. “Standing in third position.”

4. “Being the BIGSPOON.”

5. “Growing lettuce.”

6. “Calling you back a day too late.”

7. “Accidentally pooping out of nowhere and startling people. [I meant to write popping out of nowhere, but this typo is so funny I’m leaving it].”

8. “Quoting Margaret Cho.”

John V 11:45 AM  

I got nowhere with with this puppy. Nada

Bill L. 11:46 AM  

Fun to have SORCERESS in the grid today after Laura, Sorceress of Crossworld, spelled Rex yesterday.

Started with OIL RIG x PIANOS and finished in the SW. Just didn't believe IN GAME could be right.

Medium for me.

@Nancy - BMX = Bicycle MotoCross. BMX bike sounds a bit redundant but I think it's legit as used.

Anonymous 11:46 AM  

Can we drop the redundancies? BMXBIKE today, DIVEBAR yesterday. I think one drops anchor at sea and ties up at a MARINA. Wanted RECLUSE for AVIATOR.

Airymom 11:48 AM  

Re: the "ghetto blaster" issue: about two months ago, my daughter said "yes" to an invitation to go to a friend's house for a birthday dinner. A week later two other (and closer) friends invited her to go to a sports event at school. She asked me if she could tell her first friend that something came up and she couldn't go and then go instead to the sports event.

I looked at her and said, "the very fact that you are wondering and asking me means that you know what the right thing is to do." She looked at me and shrugged her shoulders and said, "yeah, you're right."

If the use of "ghetto blaster" has to be discussed, debated, defended, etc., then we know it's not right.

It truly is that simple.

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

I use a big spoon when I stress eat, as when I'm not sure whether to poop or lop...

Anonymous 12:00 PM  

I'm reminded of a recurring feature published in Spy Magazine, LOGROLLing in Our Time (something to that effect). Twin book jacket blurbs were listed, with author A touting B's new work, and B singing the praises of A. In retrospect, that magazine's demise seems graciously timed.

jberg 12:02 PM  

Really tough -- thought I would be DNF, but it finally came together. Main problems were "measures" for Handel bars, and 'bargains' instead of 'LOG ROLLS' Also CedE before CAVE, and 'horror' before TINIES (just on general principles given that it was Gorey.) Somehow it all came through, though. Can't say I enjoyed the experience.

Jim Finder 12:07 PM  

Martin A. ftw. I liked it too. A lot of tough ones that were fun when solved.

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

@Airymom - it would follow (of course) that anything that was ever "discussed, debated, or defended" isn't right. That's just evil.

AliasZ 12:18 PM  


@George B, the history and legend of ST GEORGE is easily accessed here, which I am sure you already have.

Everyone who is fascinated by history, please continue reading. Others may find it boring.

The statue of my avatar ST. GEORGE Slaying the Dragon, the first ever free-standing, life-size Gothic bronze sculpture, was created by a pair of Hungarian brothers, Márton and György of Kolozsvár, sons of a painter, in 1373. They were mostly active in the city of Nagyvárad (today: Oradea, Romania) during the reign of King Louis I of Hungary (1342–1382). This is the only remaining example of the four documented works of the brothers. The other three depicting Hungarian kings Saint Stephen (King Stephen I of Hungary), his son Saint Imre (Prince Emeric) and Saint László (King Ladislaus I), as well as perhaps many others of which no records remain, were all destroyed by invading Turks in the 16th century.

According to historic documents, upon seeing the statue of ST GEORGE, Suleiman the Magnificent took off his cashmere cape and covered it, saying that no Muslim is allowed to lay eyes on it, thus saving it from certain destruction. It is unclear how or when the original statue was moved to Prague.

Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph I had two gypsum molds made from the original, one of the bronze copies made from these was erected in Kolozsvár, Transylvania, the home of Márton and György. Here is the full picture of it with the largest Reformed Church of the city as its backdrop.

old timer 12:22 PM  

DIVEBAR is the usual name for that sort of place. No one says, "let's go to the nearest DIVE". A MARINA is not a place where anchors are dropped, but very much a place where anchors are visible, If you have a bike you use for BMXing it is a BMX BIKE. And anyone who has dipped in to the great Aubrey Maturin series knows that Dr. Maturin usually is in the ORLOP when he is treating injured sailors. It's the lowest deck that is habitable and least likely to receive gunfire.

One Google, for DADADA. And I'm not ashamed. One post-solve Google to learn more about XIA. Had "cross" before CARET and "nail" before GONG.

All in all an Easy solve, far Easier than yesterday, ARIANA and BARCAR and IRONORE were gimmes for me. What I liked was there was a way to easily get in to every corner. Plus the clever clues for AEON and BATTERUP and GROG.

mathgent 12:26 PM  

I had to call in The Closer early and even then we were stuck in the SW. After much staring, she came up with TEARGAS and we were able to finish. Although with a Natick at BMX crossing XIA, like my crossword sister @Nancy.

@DJG (11:27): I agree that NULL is wrong, as clued, for the reason you give.

DNF for me. Besides the Natick, I needed internet help to get CELIAC. Usually ten mystery clues are the most I can handle. Today there were 12. Happy that I came close to getting it clean.

I had seven red ink pluses and only three red ink minuses when I went back over it. Plus there were only two (!) Terrible Threes. Gotta give it an A.

Masked and Anonymous 12:33 PM  

Pretty stiff challenge, at my house. Some crosses that were touch-and-go, including:

* BIGSPOON/STRESSEATS. Nice collection of 4 unrelated words.

* BMXBIKES/XIA. Did not get from their crossing. XIA = fave nat-weeject-tick, almost by default.

* DADADA. Doesn't ring a bell. Did get from crossings.

* HAHAHA. har.

* ORLOP and POOP. Knew that's what they were. But had trouble recalling ORLOP, exactly. Started with ERLUP.

* Woulda felt more mathematically cuddly with a clue of: "Like { }, in mathematics" for NULL. (yo, @DJG)

Thanx, Mr. Woolf. U stress-ate my lunch.

Masked & Anonymo1U


**gruntz**

Cassieopia 1:02 PM  

Best thing about this puzzle was remembering the Volkswagon DA DA DA ad... http://youtu.be/jdccNAOvPHg

Maruchka 1:17 PM  

'Ghashleycrumb TINIES' was my first Gorey story, and first solve of the morning. Lovely HAHAHAs, and DRAMATICly spooky.

50/50 here. Have no clue re: BIG SPOON, GAG REEL, LOG ROLLS (or is it LO GROLLS?). Hammered GONG conjured the J. Arthur Rank intro, a reliable marker for good cinema.

Fav of the day - CAMEL. I recently retold the fabulous Moms Mabley's joke, "Are you a Chesterfield or a CAMEL?" Racy, back in the day.

*Recherche du temps hier - Apologies to the Wikipedia folks for my mini-rant. I do appreciate your efforts and accessibility, especially for facts. The biographies? Not as reliable, I find. Anyway, you guys provide a great service. Thanks.

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

I think most marinas have a place to tie up and get gas, etc. If you're going to stay awhile, and not tie up at a dock or on a mooring or in a slip, then you'll drop anchor. Around here we call it the inner harbor. Yes, part of the marina.

svl 1:36 PM  

Oh, Rex, you're out of the loop -- BIG SPOON and little spoon are most definitely popular colloquial terms for two people who cuddle like so! ( (

It's a current term, but not so cutting-edge that it's out of place in the NYT puzzle. I first heard it, oh, maybe 15 years ago, and have heard it many a time since then.

Here's a terrific song from earlier this year with BIG SPOON and little spoon in the opening lyrics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_hDHm9MD0I

Overall, not the most exciting puzzle, but I enjoyed it. Holding a DRAMATIC FIRE SALE to clear out our back inventory! Our warehouse is looking like a RAT'S NEST!

Numinous 1:37 PM  

I was going to explain BMX for @Nancy but someone beat me to it. I won't repeat.

I have never heard of BIG SPOON and actually think it's a goofy term now I've learnt it. Neither, @Teedmn, have I ever heard of LOG ROLL for quid pro quo. Never heard of Julian ASSANGE, had to look him up mid-solve because that just looked wrong. STRESS EATS??? WTF is that?

GAG REEL was a gimmie. I put ALIAS right in and, hands up for recluse before AVIATOR. SORCERESS was my first thought but I let the crosses fill it. I hesitated over MARINA thinking how could it be in the puzzle twice. Oh yeah, that I was in the Mini. One wouldn't drop anchor in a MARINA, one would tie up in a slip or to a floating mooring. On the topic of sailing, I was amused by the clue for GROG though it wouldn't be doled out on the POOP nor the ORLOP decks. In the days of square riggers, the ORLOP is most likely where the powder magazine was, deep below the water line.

As a child, I traveled between New York and California several times on the train. I used to like sitting in the BAR CAR looking through Esquire magazine. There was at least one Midwestern state, I think Kansas, that was dry. I used to be amused by the passengers who were STRESSed because the BAR CAR wouldn't serve alcohol while the train was in that state. I was still able to buy a Coke.

I had to do some googling to "get 'er done". I only remember Chris NOTH from "Law and Order". I'd also never heard of Gashleycrumb TINIES.

I smoke CAMEL to this day and have done since 1959. I find, however, that while it doesn't get on my nerves, it gets on plenty of other peoples' including the nine out of ten doctors who used to. Hell, I've even been known to walk a mile for one. Now, Joe CAMEL? He ain't Kool.

I have to say I struggle bit with this one. Things like I REST got to me but with the googles (2) I finished this in substantialy under my Saturday time.

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

What the hell happened to German music? Once likely the finest in the world. But in my lifetime truly dreadful. Have a listen to DADADA and you have to been deaf to music not to think NONONO.

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

Or NEIN NEIN NEIN

Numinous 1:49 PM  

Oh yeah! TEAR GAS. I came into contact with it a couple times during the sixties. Once while I was outside of a crowd of demonstrators who were being herded into a tight group in the middle of the park in front of the Berkeley city hall. After a bit, the police threw a few TEAR GAS canisters into their midst. The second time, I was in the entrance alcove to the apartment building where I grew up. I was unlocking the door for my pregnant wife and my mother when a policeman pulled the tab and rolled a TEAR GAS canister straight at us, there was nobody else around. We had been out to dinner and were dressed nicely, didn't look like protesters at all. That was during the riots in Berkeley in 1968. Took us a good while to recover from the coughing and burning eyes.

Seth 1:50 PM  

I have never heard of anyone in the world who doesn't know what a BIG SPOON and little spoon are. That you've never heard that before is utterly baffling.

Collector 2:00 PM  

I am a collector. I collect a LOT of things. So many things that I have large backlog of things that I haven't catalogued or organized yet. Fine, some may enter my house and be out off bythe disarray, but how dare the constructor use that tired old prejudicial term "rats nest" for the way I choose to keep my home. I am OUTRAGED. I am deeply offended. The damage to my self esteem is incalculable. I demand that Will Shortz ban this offensive term from all NYTimes crossword puzzles for all eternity.

Lewis 2:06 PM  

My favorite part of the puzzle were the clues to TOES, GONG, FIRESAFE, EASELS, and CARET. They made me smile. Never heard of big and little spoon, TINIES, DADADA, LOGROLLS (as clued) or XIA, so the solve took some trudging in places. Overall, I'm grateful for going through this one; it took care of my Saturday fix.
Got what I PAID FOR.

Kimberly 2:34 PM  

Rex Rex Rex. You always make me feel stupid. Saturdays are challenging. Even if they're only medium for you (for a Saturday) this means it is a challenging puzzle. Berenboim might find Beethoven's Hammerklavier easy to play but that doesn't mean it's Fur Elise (and yes only fellow pianists will get that, but thus goes elitism).

Rating: "Challenging. Average Saturday difficulty."

Harrumph!

Numinous 2:48 PM  

On the subject of "Handel bars": this is marginally related.

Here is an article and video of the oldest melody in existance and here is a direct link to the video on YouTube. With apologies to @AliasZ.

tea73 2:49 PM  

Love the reminder about Edward Gorey. The year I traveled around the country in a camping van staying with relatives, friends, friends of relatives and relatives of friends the standard thank you gift was his The Doubtful Guest.

I lived in Germany in the 80s so "Da Da Da" is very familiar. It always makes me laugh. I'm surprised people don't know it from the VW ad.

I was sure it would be lovebirds. When my parents lived in Tanzania we had a pair. They spooned all the time, but I don't think there was a Big or Little Spooner.

Thought the clue for AEON was clever.

Nancy 2:51 PM  

So I couldn't understand why @Teedmn had an "aha" moment at GROG, when I had had no "aha" moment. I got it from the crosses, but I didn't get it at all. Then I read @Numinous and I realized: Oh, it's that kind of tar! And I said "aha". Great clue.

@Marushka -- I have to say that I don't get the Chesterfield/CAMEL joke. Not at all. There seems to be a lot I'm not getting today.

Thanks, @Bill L and @Numinous [in thought] for the BMX explanation. There's only a ONE TO TEN chance I'll remember it past 8:10 this evening, but thanks for trying.

old lady Sheila 3:23 PM  

I can only assume that "Crystal Nacht" is not aware of the reference to the night in Germany when Hitler's goons destroyed Jewish property and was part of the beginning of his plan to make Germany judenfrei (eliminate all Jews) and was called Krystal Nacht. Perhaps his-her ignorance is ignorance of the past century .

Tim Pierce 4:00 PM  

Never heard of the Gashlycrumb Tinies??

You disappoint me, Parker.

evil doug 4:31 PM  

"I'm saddened by the number of people on this blog who don't want to hear any more about it. I guess it's because our nation has gotten beyond racism, everyone is equal and black folks should get a sense of humor already. The news media aren't helping, reporting every time a cop kills a black man (it seems like every day). Just stirs up trouble."

Why, of course, Ellen. The logic is so obvious:

NYT crossword-->
"ghetto blaster"-->
racism-->
cops shooting blacks

How could anyone fail to make that connection?

Your overuse of the racism card merely serves to dilute legitimate claims of bigotry.

Leapfinger 4:48 PM  

@NCA Prez 0926, all that laboring and laboring, and here I jest ate...
I know, I know. You can plainly tell I read your last para, but honestly, you did set me up.

@quasimojo 0930, me too about 'sorceress'. What I'd hoped for was 'sorcerette'. And 'one to ten'? "Basic count" should've been 'seven to fourteen'.

@Anony 1005, a bit surprised also that @Crystal Nacht showed up, but consider that Nazis were the original ghettoblasters, nicht wahr? @Nancy Klein, I'm sorry for the history you mention; although I don't share in that particular, only 6 members of my family in total survived that period, and I thought that mention was a rather good contextual reminder for the word under discussion.

@Numi 1337, have to say your 'square rigger' made me sit up, rather. Sink me, I don't see the sense in keeping the powder magazine below the water line, where it would blow a giant hole out of the ship's bottom. (I knew ORLOP from reading those pamphlets for ship's cruises that universities keep mailing out: accomodations on the orlop deck cost thousands less.)

The puzzle:
I couldn't have been further out asea. Had quid pro quo REVENGERS, RECLUSE for AVIATOR, LIQUOR for OLIVES, VENN diagram for TREE, happy as a LARK, three-footer STOOLS (no POOP), CEDE for CAVE, and (since I didn't know this particular Gorey title) made a wild stab with "The Gashleycrumb MURDER". Altogether, I had the TINIESt of TOEholds till I had GOOD REASON to hang my hat on, even to the point of nixing the tempting 'hammered NAIL'. The upshot was solving out of the SE corner, which is my chiefest misery, as I loathe solving back-end forward. Put me in a bad enough mood to look at the HAHAHA-DADADA with a thoroughly jaundiced eye, and to do some serious grumbling about the number of multi-word entries, which comes to about 22 (depending on the scoring system). Given that I somehow thought the Roman soldier would somehow be BARABBAS, it was a nice surprise to find STGEORGE... and Szent-Györgyi in the comments as well (thanks, @ALIASZ). Have to say I liked it all much more after Ms. Check and I were done.

Time to get back to the RATSNEST now.

Here's ONE TOTENkinder Lied to exit by:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDryGrL4XF8

Anonymous 4:53 PM  

Let's go to a BAR, but not that one. It's a DIVE! I've never heard someone say DIVEBAR - sound like something at a swimming pool.
If you're in a BMX you use a BIKE.

Z 6:08 PM  

@Anon4:53 - I think I'm repeating you in part, but I'm not sure. BMX is the event, you would use a BMX BIKE if you are competing in that event, not a mountain bike or road bike or a touring bike. As for DIVE BARs, not all bars are DIVEs. It's a pretty common in Detroit to discuss just how "authentic" different DIVE BARs are. Many former DIVE BARs work hard to maintain the image while attracting as many free spending millennials as they can. Yes, "DIVE" can stand alone, but DIVE BAR is not redundant.

Giovanni P. 6:44 PM  

Really with the virtue signalling? Are we Reddit now? Cause if we're reddit, I might as well not bother. May the word cuck never show up here unironically.

Puzzle: Surprisingly clean solve here for me, though the NW got me for a while. I have heard of BIG SPOON admittedly, but BOLO TIE was my real break in up there.

Plz no reddit, thanks.

Pete 6:45 PM  

@Evil Doug "Your overuse of the racism card merely serves to dilute legitimate claims of bigotry. " - There's the rub, and why you left in a snit 5+ years ago, when Rex said re racism "...because apparently for you, if a black guy isn't hanging from a tree, it doesn't count." You are not the sole arbiter what is overuse of the race card, nor what is "legitimate racism", and most likely not even a remotely qualified one.

And yes, there is a direct line "ghetto blaster"-->racism-->cops shooting blacks. Blacks aren't shot by cops who belong to the KKK, they're shot by cops who are too quick to pull a gun, too quick to fire the gun when confronted by a black man. The reason they're too quick is because of exposure to decades of low-level "blacks are dangerous" bigotry; they have a heightened sense of danger when confronted by a black man (as probably do I, as do most of us). It's the constant, low level racism which you dismiss as illegitimate, that's at the root of our current racial problems.

OISK 8:48 PM  

3 DNF in three days, would normally have me doubting my mental acuity, but of my errors, only "LOOPA" instead of LDOPA" was gettable. As I say after nearly every race at Belmont "Shoulda Haddit"

But there was simply no way for me to get 'BMXbike." Another unfamiliar (to me) acronym, with a cross "Xia" that I may have seen before, but never could have recalled. BMW was the only answer that made sense to me, although I did sense that "Wia" was probably wrong. I was greatly annoyed - not only an acronym, but an obscure brand name, I thought. But it wasn't. Having looked it up, I discovered that BMX is a less common equivalent of AtV, an acronym that is the only term in use for that particular vehicle. So even thigh I did not get, it, could not have gotten it, it's a fair clue, as far as I am concerned.

I would say Nyet, nyet, nyet to Da Da Da, never heard of "big spoon" nor Tinies, but those were still gettable from crosses. All in all, an apt, difficult but solvable (if you are a cyclist...) puzzle.

I avoid the political discussions here - generally wish they weren't here, and I won't take sides in this one either. But I need to point out, without defending bigotry of any kind, that Pete writes, "The reason they're too quick is because of exposure to decades of low-level 'blacks are dangerous' bigotry."

While one should not (as most of us do) react to someone based on skin color, nor should we assume that a young man in a hoodie is probably armed, while the elderly gentleman in a suit is probably not, the "Blacks are dangerous" view that many of us carry around with us, even if we are able to ignore it in our actions, is often based on legitimate experience. A policeman approaching a car with a young black man sitting in it who doesn't feel a heightened sense of danger probably hasn't been on an urban police force for too long a time. To feel safer walking alone after dark in Asian Flushing than in Black East New York, is rational, not bigoted.

Eddie Bee 8:52 PM  

BIG SPOON/ little spoon is totally a thing, and either sized person can be either spoon. Was a very satisfying answer when my boyfriend and I got it (solving together), as we always argue about who gets to be which spoon.

Mike Rees 9:29 PM  

The SW in this one had my number. Couldn't get in there, and didn't make it out. DNF.

QuasiMojo has my vote for best comments of the day :)

Scott Plapinger 10:46 PM  

Had a lot of trouble in the NW corner, and couldn't see "big spoon" one bit. For a while though I had "the spoon" in there, as in "the dish ran away with the spoon." To a romantic getaway where they cuddled maybe? Oh well. Any port in a storm.

Tim Pierce 11:20 PM  

@OISK suggests that to be more wary of Black people than other folks is "rational" and not "bigoted," and offers a comparison between Flushing, Queens and East New York as proof.

It is true that the street crime rate in Flushing is lower than in East New York. You know what else is lower? The poverty rate. The median per capita income in Flushing is 33% higher than in East New York. What effect do you suppose that has on the crime rate?

Have you heard of Fort Washington, Maryland? The population of Fort Washington is 70% Black, and yet, their violent crime rate is 1/4 that of their neighboring city, Washington, D.C. How funny is that!

Or Ladera Heights, California, in Los Angeles County! 73% Black, and somehow they manage to also achieve 1/4 the violent crime rate of nearby Los Angeles. Isn't that funny!

Maybe you should visit Olympia Fields, IL (69% Black). Their crime rate is 1/8 that of neighboring Chicago, so you should feel absolutely no problem walking down the street at night, huh?

@OISK, I get it. I grew up in Brooklyn (Boerum Hill, to be precise: Pacific Street, between Bond and Nevins). I was mugged many times between 1980 and 1988, every time by Black kids. One of them stopped me on my way home from school and threatened to pound me if I didn't give him my watch. Another kid, riding back and forth on his bike, grabbed my backpack strap to stop me and told me to give him my wallet.

Once, on a weekend, on my way to a movie, a guy in the subway asked me for change, and when I reached in my pocket, he pushed me up against the wall, rifled my pockets, and emptied my wallet. Then, incredibly, he asked me if I had enough for carfare to get home.

I know what you mean when you say that you feel safer walking down the street in Flushing than in Brownsville. But I think that when you conclude that skin color is an effective way to evaluate danger, you've fallen into a trap, a trap that has bested many smart people. The color of people's skin isn't a useful way to evaluate crime rate. If you're actually worried about crime rates, you should look more closely at neighborhood poverty rates. And then you should ask yourself just why poverty rates are so high in that neighborhood, but of course that's another issue entirely.

Tim Pierce 12:21 AM  

Oh, on the puzzle:

I agree with @DJG and @mathgent about NULL. That was my first reaction to seeing that answer. The keyword NULL and its variants "nil", "None", etc. show up in many computer languages, but in mathematics it is uniformly referred to as "the null set."

I've expressed my unhappiness with TEARGAS elsewhere. This is a fine entry, but the cluing ("March interrupter, maybe") seems cavalier. It seems as though the constructor and/or editors do not fully appreciate just what it means for tear gas to be used to break up a protest march. It's a bit like seeing CRUCIFIX clued as, I don't know, "Hot lawn decoration?" In this case TEARGAS is not intrinsically offensive but the clue made me feel ill-at-ease. I felt my stomach fall when I realized what the clue meant here.

Other than that ("other than that, Mrs. Lincoln...") I really did enjoy most of this puzzle. I felt like HAHAHA was a bit of a cheat but I rather like seeing it on top of DADADA now that Rex has pointed that out. I generally liked the fill and enjoyed myself filling in the rest of the puzzle.

OISK 12:29 AM  

Tim, I can't argue with anything you said, but I can say that you also don't contradict my point. I did not say that it was "rational" to be more wary of black people. My very narrow statement was that it was rational to be more fearful (in NY) in a specific black neighborhood than in an Asian neighborhood. Of course I know that poverty is an essential factor. I never suggested otherwise. Nor did I conclude that skin color is an "effective way" to evaluate danger. But in my city, an inordinate amount of violent crime is committed by people of color. I won't quibble about root causes, but the statistics are pretty convincing. And given those statistics, and our own (and your own) personal experiences, it is completely rational to feel safer when a group of young Asians pass you on a dark, quiet street, than when a group of Black youths pass you. I was also careful not to defend the urge to react differently, simply stating that it does not imply bigotry. Furthermore, crime rates are not the issue, VIOLENT crime is the issue. But as I said earlier, I don't think this is the best forum for this discussion.

Whitey 12:49 AM  

GHETTOBLASTER does not need to be defended.
Thought Police, stay out of the puzzle business, please.

Kathy D. 2:59 AM  

Right on, Ellen and Pete and others.

I totally agree with your point about "ghetto blaster" and its offensiveness.

My question is: If it's possible that a word is racially offensive, why use it? Is the word so fantastic that it can't be changed? Is there no other way to construct the puzzle?

And if Will Shortz pre-emptively offers an apology, then why is he using the term? If one feels the need to apologize, then one knows it's offensive in the first place. Just change it. What is the big deal?

It's better to be cautious than to ignore or flout possible offense. Why not?

I don't understand anyone defending use of possibly offensive terms. I looked up ghetto blaster in the urban dictionary, which said it can be racially inflammatory.

So, what's the problem? Change it or are people so dug in and invested in defending an offensive term? Expand consciousness; have sensitivity. Is that so hard a concept?

Whitey 5:49 AM  

I respect what you are saying. However, look at it this way: Who gets to make the list of words that should not be included in puzzles?

Ray Bradbury 6:20 AM  

Fahrenheit 451.

Steve Charney 7:20 AM  

I assumed two (or more) big spoons cuddle in the silverware drawer. Mine do.

Anonymous 7:42 AM  

@Kathy D. - Is it possible that people can be overly sensitive? Is it possible that people can be overly sensitive on behalf of others? Is it possible that people can confuse such sensitivity with actually doing something meaningful? No end to these questions.

evil doug 8:06 AM  

Yikes! Now the Urban Dictionary is the source you choose to cite, Kathy? I guess you'll never use the word "fist" again, either--or hundreds of other common terms that the UD has appropriated for, um, interesting new meanings. Have fun!

Chronic dnfer 11:53 AM  

Stetson instead of bolo tie? You ghetto blaster people need to get a life.

Syndyland Solver 2:01 PM  

Today is 10/02 for me since I'm in The Land of Syndication but I had to time jump to congratulate @Rex on your 10 year anniversary - my apologies for being a week late! I started solving NYT puzzles about 5 years ago. I know I was here in 2012 because I learned that was the 100th anniversary of the Oreo. Who can forget that? I probably would have given up on solving if it wasn't for your blog. Thank you for all your hard work!

Anonymous 7:16 PM  

Big Spoon features in a Brooklyn 99 episode.

Stephen 10:45 PM  

I guess we are all over the place on this one. I actually liked GONG for 'one getting hammered', and FIRESALE for 'everything must go in it'. I grudgingly finally eventually at last had to enjoy CARET and three-footer and SORCERESS. But I agreed with Rex's tone of voice today... I ended up ticked off. Where he enjoyed STRESS EATS, this time I have to actually say something more negative than even he does. Stress eats?? Hello?? Please gag me with a BIG SPOON. I also hated ONREPORT. With TINIES and DADADA, I had a bad day.

ChE Dave 2:19 PM  

Agree that 34D is null set, not null. PhD Chem E, so no mathematician but I've done my share over the years.

Got 20A right away, inferred it was an incorrect song title from The Police, "De Do Do Do De Da Da Da" from Zenyatta Mondatta. Because that's what I was listening to back then.

Overall, I agree this was not a fun puzzle, mostly boring fill.

Stephen 9:55 AM  

I forgot to whine and wail about 46D, "Place for an anchor". I live on a boat; in all my travels there has never been a single boat using an anchor in a MARINA. You might need an anchor in a HARBOR or a NEWSROOM, but a marina keeps boats closely tied closely to docks, and they are way too congested for anyone to be swinging around on an anchor. Also, there is no business model for a marina where boats are allowed to stay at anchor. This is a totally untethered clue.

TomAz 4:48 PM  

Late to the party:

This is my least favorite single NYT puzzle of 2016. Spooning is fine; BIGSPOON is absurd dreck. DADADA and HAHAHA in the same corner is just god awful lazy s#$*. TINIES is neither nor inferable. And I just scratch the surface.

People criticize Rex for being too negative. I thought he went too easy on this one.

Burma Shave 11:19 AM  

GAGREEL HEEDING

ARIANNA is a SORCERESS, ONREPORT for a GOODREASON,
DADADA,
a HOTDOGGER – my case IREST – she PAIDFOR ASSANGE’s pleasin’.
HAHAHA.

--- MARINA ETOILES

rondo 12:01 PM  

Well the NW could have gone much quicker if concertO hadn’t been sitting in the ORATORIO spot for so long (and a lightly penned bargainS where LOGROLLS fit). Last entry was somewhere in the unknown ORLOP area and it all came out correct. Googled ORLOP afterward just to see WOE that is/was.

As @(ST.)GEORGE Barany noted, nice to see MN kid-made-good ERIC Decker get mentioned.

Hard to go to any museum and not see someone’s painting of ST.GEORGE slaying the dragon. Lotsa ideas about what a dragon looks like.

As for a yeah baby I’ll go with the one-N pop tart ARIANA Grande, or stretch for Charlize in AEON Flux.

Remembered ED Gorey’s style but was thinking of Chas. Addams, headslap ensued for the TINIES.

+/- 45 minutes of mostly enjoyment and partial inkfest in the NW. Only complaint is the HAs and DAs, kind sounds like ice cream put like that. Gotta go, the missus is making blini and has the BATTERUP.

rondo 12:20 PM  

Geez. Finally read the comments and something is still stuck in alot of people's craws. What a way to make a mountain out of a potential micro-aggression. Get over it. Move on.

Diana,LIW 12:56 PM  

Have I ever mentioned that one of the great things about this blog is the variety of responses? (Answer: Yes)

Since I received a week's worth of Times puzzles from an incredibly reliable source a week ago, I spent yesterday afternoon with this mind twister. Each time I went back to it I grokked another few answers.

Not sure how anyone could dis the "fill" on this one - lots of great, fun answers. And some funny clues - that for SORCERESS being a memorable one. ETOILE twice in one week.

There used to be a restaurant on the ground level of the Palmer House in Chicago called The Big Downtown. Had a little replica of the El running around the ceiling. For some reason, the clue for BARCAR made me think of that little raised track and led me to the answer.

Oh yeah. @Spacey from earlier this week. Never saw a rat in a Blue Line station in Chicago, but saw many a rodent when I lived in and visited NYC. They are there - waiting for the inevitable garbage. Never could understand how so many folks could eat in the subway stations, but food vendors do a brisk business.

Only two or three "lookups" for me, so dnf, but still 90+% - good for a Sat.

Yes, @GeorgeB - what an exhausting (contentious) week.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Diana,LIW 1:11 PM  

Hey Synders - Don't forget to move your clocks back an hour tonight. But you knew that.

Lady Di

spacecraft 1:24 PM  

All of the points made by @anon. 11:46 are seconded here. How anybody can call this anything but challenging is beyond me. Except for gimmes NOTH and METS, every single answer was hard to get. I worked--I mean, I felt like I should have punched a clock and gotten PAIDFOR two hours' labor. In the end, however, the job got done!

For example, what does LOGROLLS have to do with quid pro quo? I had carpools, which is enough of a stretch but logical. Was able to fix it with a BOLOTIE, but geez, LOGROLLS?? The other writeover was that dynasty, which I thought was XIn. TEARGAS as a "March interrupter:" man, that is really pulling it thin.

I don't have much to say about the rest of the content, but as I say, the triumph factor was off the charts. DOD is obviously the very hot MARINA Sirtis of STTNG. How could you miss that one, @rondo? Must award birdie on t.f. alone.

rondo 1:52 PM  

@spacey - never did watch STTNG that much. Enough to know there's a counselor Troi (which I always thought was Troy until xwords, never saw the credits) and Levar wore those shades. Won't make the MARINA mistake ever again. Thanks for the heads-up.

Anonymous 2:56 PM  



Too many answers were ridiculously unknown trivia or slang. Unfair, not fun, and
deservedly REJECTED.

rain forest 4:53 PM  

Medium?! This was flat out challenging. After several minutes of staring, I cautiously entered POOP, METS, AVIATOR, and TIN. I don't remember how I progressed after that, but it was clue by clue, square by square, alphabet run after alphabet run. Normally, when I encounter a puzzle, nibble by nibble, I tend to give up, but for some reason I really wanted to finish this one.

The SE was relatively easy (nice clue for CARET), but the rest of the puzzle was a "grinder" for me. In fact my last square was the H of HERO. I guess a grinder is some sort of large sandwich, or else I'm missing something.

Nothing in this puzzle was distasteful for me, and I did enjoy the struggle.

Longbeachlee 4:55 PM  

Back in the day they were called Camels, although I guess Have a Camel would make sense.
Help me with mres please.

eastsacgirl 5:29 PM  

@Longbeachlee - MRE's = Meals Ready to Eat. Basically food rations that need little or no preparation (maybe rehydration) for use primarily on the battlefield.

NW was only place that gave me fits. Had teaSPOON, then theSPOON, then finally sussed out BOLOTIE. Kept thinking of the nursery rhyme about the cow jumping over the moon and someone running away with the spoon. Never heard of ORLOP but what the heck, I finished!

Diana,LIW 9:59 PM  

Hi @Longbeach - do you mean the reference to "Meals Ready to Eat?"

Diana

Longbeachlee 1:18 PM  

Diana, yes. Thanks to you and eastcoast girl

Anonymous 3:41 PM  

Professor of Mathematics here at Fordham. NULL is absolutely wrong. { } is indeed one way or representing the NULL SET, but to think that it stands for "null" in mathematics is utterly incorrect. Bad bad bad.

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